Sunday, August 30, 2009

We still rock!

In case you were wondering, yes - we still rock! Last night, Ryan and I had such a great time. We bought tickets for the Def Leppard concert out at Cricket Pavilion (fka Desert Sky Pavilion). What an amazing show! We had 9th row seats, so the view was incredible. And the sound. Wow - so loud and so clear. The place was totally packed. Cheap Trick and Poison opened up. Cheap trick was so so, but Poison was great too. They've had some real hits over the years for sure. They ended with their greatest hit, "Every Rose."

Def Leppard was one of my most favorite bands growing up in junior high, high school and into college. I think I've listened to the Hysteria CD a thousand times. And the great thing about the show was that they played all their hits from all their hit albums. I knew every single song. I was singing, dancing, waving my arms. Clapping my hands above my head. The whole bit. Truly, I was a rocker last night. And I loved it. We were in company with about 16,000 other rockers, so many of which were at least our age or older. Just goes to show you that the love of music never dies, no matter how old you get.

Thanks, Ryan, for taking me out on such a great date. I'll be sure to add our concert ticket stub to the wall of fame in our pool room. And maybe even this picture of us. After about 5 unsuccessful attempts to take our own picture together (cut off head, double chin, half face, etc.), the guy behind us was kind enough to offer to snap one for us. This was at the end of the show, right after "Pour Some Sugar On Me," the last official song of their play set. We were all cheering and clapping and yelling - the normal behavior to try and enlist the encore song. And of course the band obliged and came out for one last number. Rock of Ages. They couldn't have picked a better one to end on. What a great night. And thanks to Grandma Cindy for keeping the kiddos on our late night date, and for bringing them home and putting them to bed too! We appreciate you so much. Here are a few pics from the show.

Phil Collens - lead guitar & back up vocals

Joe Elliot - lead singer

Rick Allen (one arm drummer)

The band

Rick Savage - bass guitar

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Great App

Just over 2 years ago (June 07), Apple released the very first iphone. We were in Carlsbad that month, enjoying our annual beach camping trip. My SIL Shari's brother, Kevin, was there too, and he had purchased one of these magnificent devices. As we all sat at the park one evening, he showed us all the cool features, including google maps, full view internet, and email attachments that looked like the real deal - no gibberish like you get on the Blackberry attachments. I was in love. So I waited about 2 months until the prices dropped dramatically and until my existing phone (that I had accidentally dropped in Rainbow Lake months earlier) finally gave up the ghost. Then I did it. I splurged and bought the iphone. I have loved it ever since. Now the iphone is everywhere, and just about every phone carrier has their own knock-off version. So it goes with technology.

So it's been 2 years since I acquired mine. Aside from all the great phone features, I've loved it for the perfect internet, super easy texting keyboard, weather, great photos, maps, email, calendar, etc. I could go on.

But...I've never been a huge app junkie. I just never took the time or interest in searching and downloading apps. And there are thousands of apps available to download from the App Store. Pretty much any need/want you can think of, there's an app for that. Just like the commercial says. Unlike some people I know who have downloaded pages and pages of apps from the App Store, I've downloaded a grand total of 7. I'm sure I'm missing out on some very cool stuff.

That being said, I am thrilled about my latest purchase. For $14.99, I downloaded an app called Read Not only does the download include all the standard works of scripture, including a fully searchable Topical Guide and Bible Dictionary, but it also comes with a boatload of other resources. Specifically, it has the last 2 years of general conference talks (and I'll get updates every subsequent conference for free), hymns, children's songbook, all of the church instruction manuals for every class (primary through Gospel Doctrine), True to the Faith, For the Strength of Youth, Family Proclamation, Living Christ, Lectures on Faith, etc. AMAZING! I am so excited to have such a wealth of regularly referenced information right at my fingertips. Literally.

P.S. to Mind Over Body

I am kinda bummed. My friend LuAnn and I were talking yesterday morning after our workouts. She drove by my house after her 24 mile bike ride (go LuAnn!) just as I was cooling off from my run. We caught up for a few minutes, then talked a little about goals and races, etc, and I told her that I had just committed to running a half marathon. I told her I was leaning toward the PF Changs race in January. She then said, "That race is on Sunday, isn't it?" WHAT!!! I hadn't even checked the calendar to see what day 1/17/10 was. I just assumed it was a Saturday. But no. I was wrong. It's on Sunday. So there will be no PF Changs race in my future. I guess that means I'll be finding another half marathon race to run. I'll be on this weekend exploring more options....

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Original Instant Message

Today at lunch I went to the bookstore to get a new book I've been thinking about, then straight to Blimpie around the corner to grab a quick club on wheat. My usual. A little provolone, mustard, mayo, lettuce. Perfecto. I'm simple like that. As I'm standing in line to pay, I notice an ad by the register boasting the tag line, "The original instant message." It is overlayed on a picture of a young woman (mid-20's) sitting in her car, with her man leaning in for a kiss. The subtext of the ad said, "Make Face Time." It was a promo for Dentyne mints (which Blimpie happened to be selling right by the register.)

Anyway, it made me think. A good ad should do that. My first train of thought began with thinking about Ryan (I'm sure the man/woman kissing picture influenced that). I smiled as I thought about how much I love that he makes a point of giving me a kiss very first thing when I walk in the door (or when he comes home from work). Or when we wake up. Before anything else, the kiss. To let me know he loves me. The original instant message. I think sometimes we get busy in life with kids, work, errands, homework, house, church callings, hobbies, life, etc. and don't take the time to let our husbands know that they still rock our world. It was a good little reminder for me. Ryan does rock my world and he needs to know that - always.

The mind reels that there could be more, I know. But after this train of thought had flown down the tracks, the kaboose followed with a little more reflection. I liked the word play on the original instant message, as it clearly drove home the point that in today's world, everything seems to be about the media. Good old fashioned communication (actual talking and face-to-face interaction) often gets replaced with texting, emailing, Facebooking, online chatting, twittering, etc. Don't get me wrong - those things can be good, in moderation, and certainly have their place and time. Sometimes the quick text is a life saver. Sometimes reconnecting with an old friend on Facebook is the only way. But when it comes to really sending a message that matters, to someone we care about, nothing can replace a little real face time, some real affection, the original instant message.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mind over Body

"Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired." (George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian)

I've been contemplating registering for a half marathon for some time now. I'm trying to make my mind talk my body into it. Truth be told, I really don't have a passion for running like some people do. I don't do it for fun. It's hard. But I run so I can eat and still fit into my clothes. Pretty simple. I love good food and I don't diet. Sure, I watch what I eat (mostly), but I've never been a dieter. And running tends to keep things even-keeled for me. Clears the mind, trims the flab, strengthens the heart. It makes me feel like I'm starting out my day with a bang. I often think as I'm running, man, if I'd only skipped the _____(fill in the blank with whatever I ate the night before), then I'd be that much further ahead today. But then the next day comes and I think the same thoughts again. So I just keep running. I'm pretty sure I'll never run a marathon. That still seems insane to me.

Recently, I've read some training guides online and have found that 10 weeks is about the typical training time for a half marathon, assuming that you've been running for at least 4 weeks and can run for 30 minutes without stopping. I can do that. Most days. Unless I've stayed up way too late and consumed a bean burrito enchilada style and two bowls of chips and salsa the night before. (Trust me. The jog the following day is not pretty.) Thankfully, that doesn't happen that often.

I've been thinking about doing the Turkey Trot 10k again on Thanksgiving, then the PF Chang's half marathon on 1/17/10. And I got a flyer in the mail about the Rangar Relay next February. My friends Noel, Jane, and Melissa all ran that race this year (and Melissa did another one in LA), and all had great things to say. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. I could be, though. Mind over Body.

I also just saw my cousin Dyan's invite on her blog to run the 11/14/09 half marathon called "Race from the Sun." So I'm not sure which race(s) I'll choose yet. But I know the first steps toward reaching a goal are writing it down and telling someone about it (for some accountability and reinforcement).

So I'm making it official. I'm gonna enter another race. It will be good motivation for me to keep running and make it 4-5 days a week consistently. And who knows - maybe the skinny jeans will fit a little better at Christmas time too. That would be an added perk.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Super Mom

Some days I'm career woman. Some days I'm business owner. Every day I am Mom. Today I was super mom. Not with any special super powers (although that would have helped), just super busy mom I guess. Or at least it felt like it to me. My pirates kept me hoppin'. I did get in a mediocre run this morning (all about me) and finished up our RMB Properties business tax stuff for the tax guy (all about work), and pick up a super cute jacket in the middle of my errand run (to go with the even cuter skirt my mom bought me), but the rest of the day was all about the kids.

Easton and I were inseparable again today - the big man on Brown House Campus. He was such a helper at the iStore, and especially at Sam's Club. He insists on helping put everything on the conveyor belt despite the fact he can hardly reach or lift many of the superhuman sized boxes of everything we bought in bulk. But he tried and was happy to help.

Afton rocked at her electric guitar lesson today. I was so proud of her. She learned how to play 16th notes with power cords, and she was totally jammin with James (her teacher) to one of the classics. I couldn't keep the grin off my face.

Barrett passed off her songs at piano lessons too. She worked hard all week on her music (courtesy of more one-on-one time with mom and much encouraging - OK, threatening, pushing, urging, nagging). She too is doing so well.

I picked up new music and a shoulder rest at Milano's for the violin. Barrett has decided to add another instrument to her plate, and is taking after mom. Last week, I took my violin in to get new strings and a new bow. It hadn't been played in far too long and needed a little TLC. When I picked it up, Barrett was duly impressed that I could still knock out some hymns (despite not playing for 20 years and even with my long french nails - a huge no no in stringed instrument world.) At first Barrett was thinking of taking band - like the trumpet, but we were able to talk her into orchestra instead. A little more future with the violin than the trumpet. Although drums were tempting. We just don't have the room or sound proofness we need for those. Maybe in the dream house we'll have a sound proofed music room, filled with instruments of all varieties, ready for any impromptu jam session. I can hardly wait!

I super mom multi-tasked while making dinner, helping Rowan with her kindergarten homework at the counter while throwing together a green salad. We worked on mastering some of her letters, reminding her that they all start at the top of the line. She's doing great. Dinner was nutritious and tasty and pretty quick, as we had to be at curriculum night at 5:30 for Barrett's classroom presentation. We both love love love her teacher this year. Miss Kritzmire is young (late 20's), enthusiastic, and fun. This is her 7th year teaching 5th grade, and she seems so on the ball and full of love for her kids. How great is that? She raved about Barrett and what a great girl she is. Today was also Barrett's first day of ELP this year. She loved it.

Post music lessons, post dinner and post school meetings - home for much homework. Afton and I read together for a half hour, checked her packet, and passed her off happily. Barrett and I studied for her social studies test tomorrow, and I re-learned some stuff I probably knew in 5th grade but have long since forgotten (like where the Appalachian Mountains are, the names of the primary directions on the compass - cardinal points in case you were wondering - etc.) I pulled out the wall size map a couple times for reference. Did we really learn all this stuff when we were 10?

All this called for treats, but we were out of ice cream (the hot ticket item at our house), so I made a power run - 8 minutes round trip - to Fresh & Easy (my second time today) to grab some Vanilla Bean and Whipped Cream. Success. We all indulged.

After baths, clothes readied for tomorrow, lunch boxes cleaned out, laundry, family prayers, 3 mouths of assisted teeth brushing, 2 trips downstairs for water, and a final tuck-in, 3 of the 4 were out for the count. Barrett was up till 10:00 finishing up more homework and doing who knows what else. Ryan and I have both been up working for the past 2 hours. I'm ready to call it a day.

In honor of my 4 fantastic kids, I'm posting a random scrapbook page about each one of them. They rock. I love being a mom. As Nacho Libre would say in his best Mexican accent, "It's the best. It's fantastic. I love it."

(Double click on any layout to make it larger)

Monday, August 24, 2009


Last night we were spoiled by my parents. Filet mignon. Can you say supreme? Ever since I can remember, my mom and dad have enjoyed grilling up fine steaks. I was telling Ryan that I have many memories growing up, having Sunday dinner with both sets of my grandparents over, enjoying some tasty filets or ribeyes.
My mom likes them well done.
My dad likes ‘em pink and juicy.
Mom says they’re still “mooing”.
I am in between. A nice medium is my fancy.
So thanks, mom and dad, for sharing the goods with us once again. We loved it. And we loved the company, of course. The kids were thrilled to pass on lasagna (what I had planned for Sunday dinner) and enjoy one of their favorite meals at Grandma’s house instead. And to top it all off, my mom baked my all time favorite dessert: cherry pie! Does it get any better than that?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chick Magnet

Friday morning:

I was in the bathroom getting ready for my day, finishing up my hair and makeup, thinking about the busy day ahead. Taxes. Bills. Laundry. Work. More taxes.

Easton strolls in, syrup covering his chin, big blue eyes wide open.
He stares at me a little confused.
"Mom, why are you snipping your eyes with the tongs?"

I laugh out loud.

"Oh, Easton, I am not snipping my eyes and these are not tongs. I am curling my eyelashes. This is my eyelash curler."

Apparently contented, he walks out.
2 minutes pass.
He's back.
"Mom, when are my sisters coming home?"
Me: "Not for a long time, buddy. They've only been gone an hour an a half."
He walks out.

1 minute later. He's back.
"Mom, can we go swimming today?"
Me: "I'm not sure, Easton. Mommy has a lot to do today. Maybe when the girls get home."

Back again - couldn't be more than 30 seconds.
"Mom, can I have a snack?"
Me: "No, bud. We just had breakfast. Are you still hungry?"
Easton: "Nope."
"Mom, can we go to the dollar store?"

The thought occurs to me: Maybe he's bored. Ya think????

Thankfully, amidst all I had to do on Friday, Easton was a total trooper. He played happily, was sweet as can be, tooled around with me to Dad's office, bank, etc. and only asked about his sisters coming home about 5 more times before the bus finally came at 2:30. We can't wait for preschool to start in 2 weeks so he'll have some more buddies to hang with and some time to be with more friends, even if it's only a few days a week. He doesn't quite know what to do without his sisters around - especially Rowan. I think he's gonna love school. He's a real chick magnet you know.

Here are a few of my layouts from years past featuring my little man, Easton. I call him "Bud" most of the time in our day to day conversation. Because he's my buddy. No doubt about it.

(Double click on any layout to make it larger and read the text.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What If?

Every now and then, I find myself running through disaster scenarios in my mind - usually while I am driving or contemplating a recent major life event. Or sometimes just after I've tucked my kiddos into bed at night. Or sometimes at just purely random times. I think about things like, "What if there was a fire tonight?" or "What if I lost my job?" or "What if I got in a car crash and died?" or "What if someone broke into our house and stole all our stuff?" or "What if the kids don't come walking through the door today on queue?"

I know, a little dire and dark, but I the only one? I think it has to be natural to contemplate life's potential catastrophies at some level so that we can be prepared (to the extent that is possible) or so that we can prevent or at least mimimize the liklihood that we'll have to endure such trials.

So for me, when I think about such scary "What If's" on occassion (like today), the positive twist is that I try to figure out what I can do about it. I'm not much of a worrier. I'd rather be proactive and prepared. So here are some of my mental notes translated to paper...

The fire: let's make sure our detector batteries are changed and that we've practiced our escape route and family meeting place with the kids.

The job loss: let's make sure we're building up our reserves, both cash and food. Let's eliminate our debt where possible and live within our means.

The car crash: let's make sure we're paying attention while driving (no texting), make sure our cars are serviced, our kids are buckled up and tight in their car seats, and that our auto and life insurance policies are in good shape.

The break in: let's make sure our homes are secured, that we double check them at night and before leaving the house, and that we have our valuable, irreplaceable stuff (like journals, family albums, pictures, etc.) scanned and backed up somewhere off site (like on a web server, CD, external drive, etc.) Take a backup to another family member's house, for example. This would also be really helpful in the event of a fire.

The kids: let's review stranger danger and bike/road safety. Let's make sure we have a family password in place and that our kids know it well. Practice with them when they might need to use it (like when someone tells your child that their mom asked them to give the child a ride home from softball practice.) In every single case, no matter who that someone is, if that someone doesn't know the family password, then the answer is definitely NO!) Scream and run! the spirit of worrying less and being proactive more, I'm actively backing up all my irreplaceable stuff. I'm trying to get more things scanned. I'm running regular backups.

Here are a few of my recently scanned and archived layouts. (Barrett's school pages for the last 2 years. ) She just started 5th grade and is growing up so fast! I will certainly post the current year school pics later this fall too!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Thinking Beach

I was talking to my friend, Linda, today about fall break and our plans to spend the week beach camping with Mike & Shari’s family.  We are so excited!  Beach camping is our kids’ most favorite vacation every year.  

Outside 24/7.  
Playing all day.  
Boogie boards. 
Surf boards.
Beach store.
What could be better?  

We’ve never beach camped in October before, but we hear that it’s loads of fun.  A little quieter than during the summer, and a little chillier at night.  Bring it on!

So in keeping with those thoughts and in looking forward to a great fall break (even though school just started last week), I’d thought I’d post a few of my old scrapbook layouts from a few years back.  I love Mike & Shari and I love the beach.  And I like to go back and look at pictures from years passed, remembering how the kids looked and how much they've grown.  

(Double click on the layout to make it big enough to read the text).

These are a couple of pages from our Summer '06 trip to Carlsbad.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


After I walked the girls to the bus stop this morning, I headed out for my run. I stayed in my neighborhood and ran up and down the familiar streets as I often do. As I passed by each of my friends' houses, I thought of them and wondered what they might be doing, what was going on their lives, what they had planned for their day. I love my neighborhood. I have so many terrific friends here. As I ran by Cadi's house, I thought of her and imagined that she had probably already gotten her early morning workout in at the crack of dawn. Then I thought about the last blog post I read on her blog. She talked about feeling a little down or out of sorts one day, then remembered some good yet simple advice her father had often given over the years. "Take a shower. Comb your hair and put on some gloss." She realized that she hadn't taken any time to get ready for the day and so was in a little funk. It's amazing what a little freshening up will do for our spirits.

As I read Cadi's post last weekend, I immediately thought of my dear Grandma Sue (pictured above). Isn't she gorgeous? She passed away two years ago in May and I sure miss her. She was spicy and feisty and opinionated and wonderful. She loved taking pictures and always wanted to capture life on film. One funny memory I have of her is that when the cameras came out, she'd quickly ask, "Do I have my lipstick on?" She always wanted her lipstick. And I so vividly remember her telling me as a young girl, "Never leave the house without your lipstick and a little mad money." I loved that. And that advice stuck with me for sure. Truly, I am the lipstick girl. I never go anywhere without it. My grandma would be so proud.

Even if I'm in a rush, I always dab a quick coat on my lips and make sure my earrings are in. I am one of those believers, like Cadi and my Grandma Sue, that when we take a few minutes to make sure we're put together and ready to face the world, we'll embrace the day with a little more confidence and a little more zest. We'll be more likely to engage in conversation, more likely to jump at an impromptu opportunity, more ready for life.

So here's to the lips, girls! Gloss 'em up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago on August 17th, 1996, it was a smokin’ hot Saturday. Ryan and I decided that despite the crazy summer Arizona heat, we wanted to get married before he started back to college for the year. We had high hopes of going on a fabulous honeymoon (which we did) and wanted to do that before ASU started up. (Not to mention the fact that I had been waiting an eternity – 10 whole months – for him to propose, so I was happy to have a quick 2-month engagement.)

Last weekend, Ryan and I were reminicsing about some of our early dating memories (music we listened to, things we did, how we felt). I told Ryan that I knew he was "THE ONE" so early on in our relationshiop. Our first date was in August 1995, and by late September, I knew. I knew he was the love of my life. I knew he was the one I’d marry. I knew we’d be great together.

And I was right. He is the love of my life. We are great together. No doubt about it. So today, in honor of our Lucky 13, I’m posting 13 of my favorite “us” pictures. We have sure had some great times together, with many, many more to come.

But first... here are 13 little reasons (in no particular order) why I am so crazy about him:

1) He makes me feel like I'm the most beautiful girl in the world.
2) He surprises me on random occasions with a bag of sour jelly bellies – my all time favorite treat.
3) He signs me up for scrapbook classes because he knows I love it and because he knows I usually won’t do it myself.
4) He anxiously looks forward to every date with me.
5) He always tells the kids (in front of me) how much he loves mom, then follows it up with a little smooch (to make them giggle and smile). I love that they know we are in love.
6) He makes me a fruit shake just about every morning I work, and has it ready for me on my way out the door.
7) He puts his arm around me and pulls me close when we sit together.
8) He loves to talk to me, ask about my days, and is genuinely interested in what I have to say.
9) He works hard for our family and is always trying to improve our lives.
10) He loves our four children with all his heart.
11) He treats both his parents and mine with so much love and respect.
12) He senses when I need a little "me" time, and encourages me to take the time to do things for myself (go on a run, get my nails done, get out of the house for a while).
13) He is incredibly romantic and passionate about "us."

Could I be an luckier?

Freestone Park 9/08

Lake Tahoe 5/98

Isn't he handsome?

Cancun May '05

Ryan's ASU graduation

Park City Jan' 08 (one of my favorite trips!)

Hiking the trail behind the Cabin (Pine, AZ) 8/08

Vegas for Ryan's birthday 1/8/05 (loved this trip too)

A little "Rebel Yell" going on here. Halloween Party 2003

Ft. Lauderdale May 2003

Kauai June 2009

Our first Christmas party together - Ryan's apartment Dec. 1995

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Weekend - elevator version (almost)

Like most weekends, this one was packed. Good, but packed.

  • Girls to school, me out for a short run. I was sucking wind - too little sleep, a little too late start, a little too much food the night before. The summer has kicked my routine out the door. And unfortunately, only working out 2 days a week doesn't quite cut it - the muscles and stamina rebel.
  • Easton joins me for visiting teaching with Connie. I love her.
  • Fresh n' Easy (my favortie store) to stock up for the weekend. Easton is a huge help, as I'm sure you can imagine.
  • Home for lunch with Easy E. He's happy playing with toys, coloring next to me, and watching a movie for a few hours. I review management reports, pay bills, laundry, clean, respond to work emails, go through mail, etc. Basic Friday playing catch up.
  • Pick up girls from bus at 2:30, and chaos begins. Friends come over. Snacks are made. Volume is way too loud.
  • Cook dinner for my dear friend, Val, who had an emergency appendectomy on Thursday. Deliver and visit quickly.
  • 5:30 - Barrett out the door to D-backs game vs. Dodgers with Grandpa Bob (they ride the Light Rail into downtown and have a great time.)
  • 6:00 - Drop the 3 youngers off with Grandma Cindy, and Ryan and I head out for early anniversary date. Dinner at our favorite place (Macaroni Grill - where he proposed), then to movies to see "The Time Traveler's Wife." Liked it. I cried, of course. Ryan had suggested GI Joe, but happily let me choose since the anniversary is really all about me, right?
  • We ran into our great friends, the Ellingsons, at the theatre. Sat with them and caught up afterwards.
  • The rest of the night was fabulous too :)


  • Slept in til 7:30. Heaven.
  • Spent the day with Barrett - we had a mother/daughter date planned all week. Shopped till we dropped at Tempe Marketplace for cute school clothes. Had great success. I even scored some great jewelry finds.
  • Bridal shower for one of my former YW, Tawnie. She is so beautiful it's unbelievable! Saw lots of friends.
  • Nail salon (Barrett still with me). I got a fill, she got a mani. Good times.
  • Rescue Ryan briefly while he does errands.
  • Kids to grandma Cheri's for evening. Ryan and I to ward temple night. Temple was packed and apparently set a record for all time high attendance that date. I've never seen it so busy.
  • Ran over a bolt (yes, a bolt) on way home. Flat tire. Not good times.
  • Now behind schedule. Dinner is downgraded to drive thru at Filibertos (still tasty, and super low fat I'm sure), then straight to wedding reception for Carly Cook, another former YW, also so so so beautiful. Saw lots of friends.
  • Got kids to bed, then stayed up late writing a primary talk for Barrett and preparing for Sunday.


  • 8:15 am - 6 peeps off to church. It was great.
  • Subsitituted as the primary chorister today and loved it. We had a blast! So glad I got to come back the first week after being released from my primary calling. I love those kids.
  • Good lunch with family.
  • Ryan and I took at 1 1/2 hour nap. Kids only came in once. Sooooooo good.
  • Fingerpainting with the kids. Took pics (of course).
  • Cooked dinner - chicken fettucine alfredo, bread, salad, fruit. Everyone scarfed it down.
  • Ryan off to church meeting. Kids and I get baths and ready for another week.
  • Baked chocolate chip cookies with the peeps. Our favorite Sunday thing.
  • Mopped floor - Easton didn't quite make it to the potty :(
  • Played 8 games of Uno with Afton.
  • Family time - kids were wound but happy. All good (except for Easton's room. Holy nightmare. Thank goodness Ryan spearheaded that clean up.)
  • Kids in bed by 8:45 (a miracle).
  • Read for a while. Took a long jacuzzi bath.
  • I'm about to give it up. Too late. 11:45. Should have gone to bed 2 hours ago.

Tomorrow is our 13th anniversary. So happy and so in love...More to follow tomorrow.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Classy & Fabulous

I cleaned out Afton's backpack last night, and found this great letter. I loved that she wrote "I tried to do my best." Seriously, what more could I ask for? She is such a good girl it's unbelievable. Such a pure heart. Total personality. I love her. Below is a scrapbook layout I did of Afton last year. It's one of my favorites (partly because she looks so beautiful, partly because I love the quote, mostly because she makes me smile!)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stand by Me

Last Wednesday night, Ryan was gone at scouts and then to the office to catch up on some work. I was especially tired. We had two funerals, work, killer summer heat, and lots of late nights in the first half of the week. The kids were being particularly difficult. I think boredom had set in and too much time spent together over the summer months had finally taken its toll. I could try and sugar coat it, but bottom line – the kids were all just being plain mean and ornery. I don’t know how else to say it. I was ready to retire my whistle and referee shirt and lock myself in my room. But then I decided that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t cave. Maybe there was some teaching moment waiting to happen. Perhaps I should act on that prompting.

So I cooled my nerves, gathered all four of my peeps and instructed everyone to grab their scriptures. I did a quick search in the Bible Dictionary and Topical Guide for “peace” and “contention.” The older kids were assigned a scripture to look up, and I tabbed a couple myself. After each child had looked up their assigned verses, we each took turns reading them. I interrupted many times, asking things like:

“Now, what does
that mean?”
“Why would that scripture be in here?”
“Do you think that applies to
“Do you believe these things are true?”
"What happens if we don't obey?"
"Is that what you want to happen?"

We had a good discussion. I then felt inspired to bear my testimony to them about the Plan of Salvation and how our family is going to be together eternally. Forever and ever. I reminded them that we’re not sealed to our neighbors, to our friends, or to our “stuff.” All we’ll have is each other. I pled with them to be kinder to each other, to stick up for each other at school, to stand by each other always, and to never talk bad about each other. Build each other up, don’t tear each other down.

I was crying and so were they.
I think they got it.
The spirit was so strong in our little upstairs loft.
I was grateful that I didn’t take the easy escape route and just send them all to bed angry. I would have felt so bad and would have missed a good teaching moment.

We finished with family prayer and a bowl of ice cream, and all was well with the world in the walls of the Brown home that night. Too bad I’ll have to have that talk with them a hundred more times over the years and they won’t realize until they are older that their siblings really will be some of their best friends in life.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School

My girls were so excited to start back to school today. New teachers. New Converse. New haircuts. New clothes. Unfortunately, no new backpacks (last year's packs were still in decent shape). Time with friends. After meet the teacher day yesterday, they could hardly wait for this morning to come. Barrett actually was awake with bed made and nearly fully dressed for school when I came in to wake her. That never happens. (We'll see how long that trend lasts.) All three girls are going all day this year. Poor Easton. He's going to be sooooo lonely without his best friend Rowan to pal around with all day (until preschool starts in a few weeks). Yesterday I asked the girls what they loved most about their summer, and this is what they said:
  • Beach Camping in California
  • 4th of July in Mexico
  • Big Surf
  • Nacho Night
  • Less piano practicing
  • Earning $ with Grandpa Steve mowing lawns
  • Kidz Kamp at Freestone Rec Center (they loved the Rock Wall)
  • More free time with friends
  • Staying up late
  • Swimming
  • Playing Webkinz

Sounds like a good summer to me! Here are a few pics taken this morning before school. I hope today is a great first day back.